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Susan Hiller \ Wild Talents

Susan Hiller is know a an leading pioneer of multimedia installation art and is specifically known for her early adoption of video as an artistic medium and for her ability to transform conventional gallery spaces into haunting, immersive environments. I think it's really interesting how Hiller use the archival tendencies in her conceptual art to comment on psychologically loaded subjects, from war memorials to paranormal phenomena. Her body of work Wild Talents' draws inspiration from the life of Stefan Ossowiecki, a famous psychic known as 'The Polish Wizard'. The installation focuses on the psychic's childhood, a time when his then unfocused powers resulted in unpredictable and spontaneous outbursts. In the wider picture, the installation comments on society's fear of the unknown and its obsession with the dangerous energies and spontaneous 'wild talents' of children.

The installation consists of two wall sized projections, each with a shared soundtrack, juxtapose excerpts of the horror film genre to explore fantasies of occult powers in young children, while the small screen simultaneously shows documentary material from a pilgrimage to visit children who have had authenticated religious visions, thus suggesting a cultural continuity in different registers of this belief in miraculous powers. Between the projections sits a TV monitor showing footage from a documentary concerning children who had visions of the Virgin Mary. I think her installation is completely immersive, and I really like her use of found archival footage.

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